Time for the cataclysm.
The episode begins with Selina being rushed into emergency care with Bruce at her side. He promises not to leave her, but naturally, the do soon have to part ways as Selina is brought in for surgery.
Jeremiah, meanwhile, sits in his cell at the precinct, though Alfred tells Jim that he regrets not killing him. When Harvey arrives, he tells Jim that the bomb squad is at the final location. Also, the mayor wants to lift the evacuation order, but Jim won’t allow that until every bomb has been locked away.
Jim orders the officers back to work so he can speak with Jeremiah, who wants to press charges against Alfred for assault. In addition, he’d like to talk with Bruce again. Jim tells Jeremiah that he’s a failure, as the city has still stood and Jim is alive. Jeremiah then offers to give up the location of the bombs…all of them. Systems fail, so you build in redundancies, and Jeremiah is a very good engineer.
Jim calls Jeremiah’s bluff, but how many lives will Jim bet? Yes, Jeremiah did fail, as he didn’t understand the vision he serviced, but his eyes are open very clearly now, as will Jim’s. When Jim realizes that Jeremiah isn’t bluffing, he must bring Bruce to Jeremiah. Also, coffee.
So Tabitha and Penguin bring Butch to Hugo Strange, who tells them that once Butch’s body is flushed with antitoxin, he’ll be injected with fresh blood…courtesy of three ‘volunteers.’ Tabitha then gets a call and learns that Selina has been shot and is now at Gotham General. She loads up and plans to kill Jeremiah. Penguin will remain in the meantime to help Butch recover.
Lucius Fox, who is at a site with the bombs, calls and updates Jim and Harvey when Harper tells them that the mayor has called, yet again. No evacuation lift, though. Jim reflects on Jeremiah’s obsession with Brue and wonders what Jeremiah meant by his eyes being open.
The mayor, meanwhile, decides to lift the order when one of his employees notices a man standing across the street- it’s Ra’s. And underneath the building sits one of the bombs, which soon detonates as Ra’s watches the destruction.
Jim demands to know how many bombs there are and starts beating Jeremiah, but he still wants Bruce Wayne and only Bruce Wayne. If not, more people will die. Harvey rushes in and tells Jim to come with him.
Out in the main hall, Jim is introduced to Major Rodney Harlan, played by Malik Yoba. The government has declared martial law. Until the crisis is resolved, Major Harlan is in charge and tasked with restoring order.
Jim updates Major Harlan on the situation, but since some of Jeremiah’s followers have turned, there must be someone else involved. Harlan decides to bring in Bruce Wayne, but when Jim grabs Harlan, the major has Jim arrested, as he won’t have anyone or anything jeopardize this situation.
Before Jim can be carted off, the officers escorting him are put to sleep with tranquilizer darts. Out comes Riddler with a riddle, or at least part of one- I strike where you lie, death’s gentle cousin. Jim guesses that the answer is ‘sleep,’ but then he’s also put to sleep by a dart, as Riddler hates being interrupted.
Jim later awakens in the Narrows, with Riddler still bitter about Jim punching him in the face. While Jim tries to warn Riddler about Jeremiah’s bombs, Riddler isn’t interested. After all, he and Leslie are still fugitives. Plus, she’s dispersed the money taken among the people in the Narrows. Riddler activates the contraption hovering over Jim and prepares to crush him, it’s about 50 pounds of pressure.
The weight above used to go on a prisoner’s chest to get a confession, so Riddler wants Leslie to break free from her history. Jim is her dead weight, and when he’s out of the way, she can be who Riddler wants her to be. He saw the way that Leslie looked at Jim, so Gordon will die for his sake…and for Ed’s sake, he’ll suffer.
Barbara is ready to take advantage of the now open territory, but then Ra’s arrives, takes out his former henchwomen, and tells Barbara that he’s leaving Gotham and wants her to accompany him, as he had a vision when he took back the Demon’s Head- death, destruction, and the city in flames. It didn’t come to be, though, for many reasons. For centuries, the Demon’s Head has let him stay ahead of his enemies.
Some of it might still be in Barbara, but Ra’s isn’t here to kill her for it. He brings up the woman in the tapestry and admits that he lied to get under her skin. He loved her very much and offered her eternity, but she turned it down. Now he makes the same offer to Barbara and the two will rule the League of Shadows together. At the very least, Ra’s allows Barbara to think about it. As for his vision, he’s making certain of it, even now.
The destruction will give rise to Ra’s heir, the one who brought him here.
Against their will, Alfred and Bruce are brought into the police precinct, while Harvey tells Major Harlan that Jeremiah has been prepared. Bruce, ready for this to be over and done so he can get back to the hospital, heads in to face Jeremiah.
So Bruce is brought before a restrained Jeremiah, who asks how Selina is doing. He tells Bruce that they’re destined to be best friends because they’re alike. Bruce must embrace who he is if he wants to be free, and Jeremiah is just trying to help. Bruce doesn’t see a similarity, even though there’s a darkness in them. Bruce can control his darkness at least, but Jeremiah sees strength in Bruce. So does he…
Bruce asks Jeremiah about the bombs planted around the city, but Jeremiah did what he had to do, as it got Bruce into the precinct. Bruce asks who Jeremiah meant by he, and it turns out that he is the one who opened Jeremiah’s eyes, the one who will create the Gotham that will unleash a dark knight in Bruce. Jeremiah won’t give the name, as Bruce already knows it. He is the heir, after all.
The lights then go out. As Harvey and Alfred rush to the interrogation room, they find the guards incapacitated and both Bruce and Jeremiah gone.
So now Jim has 350 pounds of pressure on him. However, Leslie arrives and tells Ed that Jim can take about 450 before he cracks. Ed tells Leslie that Jim is holding her back from being who she’s meant to be, and the woman that he loves. Leslie wonders how weak that person would need to be if Jim was holding her back. Yesterday, Jim said part of her would always care for Leslie, but that Leslie is gone.
The Narrows is free from gangs and every family has money. She’s leaving Gotham and wants Riddler to come with her, but not if she kills Jim. Also, she’s leaving tonight. Up to Ed if he wants to join her. Riddler’s just focused on the fact that Leslie chose him. Jim, meanwhile, can have Gotham. Riddler heads off and leave Jim with the device to free himself.
Alfred arrives at the Sirens’ club to find out where Ra’s is. She doesn’t know his current location, but does know where he will be. More than that, she informs Alfred that Ra’s is leaving the city. She’ll gladly help Alfred find Bruce, but Barbara wants to make sure that she is the one to kill Ra’s. Fair enough. Penguin also wants in on the violent fun. After all, the only way to keep Butch on the table was that he promised to help.
With Jim free, Leslie tells him to ice his ribs. He asks if she’s serious about leaving Gotham and taking Ed with her. He reminds her that he wanted to change so much, and he’d change what brought to them this point. He’d ask her to leave Gotham when he first saw her to make sure they had a life. But then he wouldn’t be where he is now. Leslie won’t go back to who she was, but part of her will always care for Jim.
She kisses him farewell. Jim then calls Harvey, who tells him that Jeremiah escaped with Bruce and has all of the bombs.
Speaking of, Jeremiah brings Bruce to Ra’s, who explains that Bruce is the reason that Ra’s and Jeremiah connected in the first place. Ra’s retrieved Jeremiah’s bombs, which are en route to their locations. From this location, the three can take in the full view of Gotham’s destruction. Ra’s knows that this is hard for Bruce to understand, but this is for Bruce’s benefit. Out of this crucible will rise the dark knight that Gotham needs.
Jeremiah isn’t into prophecies, but Ra’s said that rebuilding Gotham and rebuilding Bruce are one in the same. Bruce is the brother that Jeremiah never could be. Gotham falls, and they all rise. Together.
Harvey and Jim go over a map of the city to determine how the bombs are being transported to the outskirts of Gotham. Major Harlan arrives just as Harper tells them that she’s found two more locations that are being targeted. The evacuation needs to be cancelled, but there are tons of people on the bridges…which happen to be the targets
Harlan wants Jim and arrested, but the entirety of the precinct sides with Jim and is ready to stand by his side. Jim radios to have all of the bridges cleared.
As Ra’s, Bruce, and Jeremiah want for the fireworks, Barbara arrives, telling Ra’s that she can’t accompany him. She reveals the re-forged blade in the chest, knowing that Ra’s will return if he does leave Gotham. Ra’s reminds Barbara that she tried using the blade and failed, plus she’s outnumbered. However, she isn’t. Alfred and the cavalry arrive as the firefight begins.
Jim and Harvey arrive at the bridge and learn that a transport van came by 20 minutes ago. And there are vans on both bridges in position, meaning that the bombs could go off at any second. Jim then rushes off to rescue a lone girl on the bridge.
So Barbara takes on Ra’s while Jeremiah manages to get the drop on Tabitha. He’s prepared to kill her until Penguin shoots him off of Tabitha.
Barbara then takes Bruce’s hand and plunges the blade into Ra’s, but it’s too late. The bombs detonate on both bridges. Ra’s tells Bruce to become Gotham’s dark knight. He then disintegrates into ashes while Gotham burns.
With Gotham in darkness, Leslie has herself a drink when Riddler figures that she isn’t leaving. She can’t, as the people of the Narrows need her now more than ever. As for what this means for Leslie and Ed, this is the end of the road. Riddler, a blade behind his back, realizes that Leslie just wanted to save Gordon, not be with Ed, though Leslie admits that neither Ed nor Jim really knew her.
In fact, Leslie shoves a blade into Riddler’s chest. She offered something real, but she wouldn’t be who he wanted. Then Riddler turns around and stabs Leslie. She’s wrong, he says, as he does see her. Having both stabbed each other, they then kiss and collapse.
Only on Gotham.
Tabitha returns to Hugo Strange and demands to know where Butch is, and it turns out that he’s back to normal, skin tone and all. They kiss, and Butch promises to never forget what Penguin did for him. He’ll do anything that Penguin requires, and Oswald considers Butch a friend. He’s truly sorry for what comes next.
And that’s him shooting Butch point blank in the chest, killing him instantly. Penguin never forgot that Tabitha killed his mother. He never forgot that. In fact, he’s lived with that pain every day. He could’ve killed her, but he believes in an eye for an eye. He took away the one person that Tabitha loved, and she gets to live with that.
When Tabitha rushes at Penguin, he shoots her in the knee. So yes, all of this was so Penguin could kill Butch in front of Tabitha. When Tabitha has suffered enough, he will kill her, too. Keep in mind that nothing is stopping Penguin from just killing Tabitha right now…
Bruce and Alfred arrive at the hospital, where they learn that the bullet severed Selina’s spinal cord, so the damage is probably permanent. As for the hospital, it’s shutting down.
Now Bruce realizes that Ra’s was right- this was what he was meant to do. Jeremiah is still out there, though Alfred says that neither Jeremiah nor Gotham City itself are Bruce’s responsibilities. Still, Bruce is making them his responsibility. Alfred wants to stay as well, but Bruce needs to know that Selina is okay, so Alfred will go with the doctors. After that, though, Alfred will return for Bruce.
With the precinct shrouded in darkness, Major Harlan wants to proceed with the evacuation. The government has declared the city off limits, so no one’s coming for them, but Jim refuses to leave. Harvey is on board with Jim, but reminds him that with the city essentially a free-for-all, gangs will start carving up turf.
Indeed, the criminals start staking their claims across the city, with Penguin, Victor Fries, Firefly, and even Scarecrow setting up shop in their territories.
Meanwhile, Hugo Strange has been informed by Penguin that he’s to fix up Leslie and Riddler.
With Ra’s gone, his followers pledge themselves to Barbara. Tabitha is hauled in and learns that Penguin killed Butch. Barbara acknowledges that everything wrong in Gotham can be traced back to one problem- men. So she wants a men free zone, starting with her club.
Yeah, we’ll talk about this in a minute.
Power returns to the precinct, as Lucius restored one of the bombs- before it was shipped off- for its proper purpose. Other people are coming to help defend their territory. This is their city, after all. However, there’s something else that Jim needs help with at the moment.
Bruce punches his way through as many perps as possible to find Jeremiah, but then spots a shining signal in the sky.
He heads to the precinct and joins Jim on the rooftop. Jim informs Bruce that gangs are carving up the city. They’ll have to go block-by-block, but there’s no telling what they’ll find. A thing like this brings out whatever’s lurking in the shadows.
What they’ll find is a bunch of masked folks carving up their victims, for example. But…more on them next time.
Bruce tells Jim that the light is daring people to come after them, but he’s not worried. There are still good people out there and they need to know that Gotham will stand and night. Bruce reflects on the night the two met. Jim said that the world might seem dark, but there is light. They watch the signal sign brightly in the sky as the fourth season of Gotham comes to a close.
Fresh off the heels of learning that Gotham had been renewed for a fifth and final season, we end things with mob rule…ruling the city as Gotham is plunged into perpetual darkness. It sets up a new, long term status quo with villains ruling the day, though this could play out much longer than a season titled ‘Rise of the Villains’ and later ‘Wrath of the Villains.’
So we have two big Batman adaptations at play here: The Killing Joke and No Man’s Land, both playing out in ways that will have long term effects on Bruce. If Selina ends up with permanent damage, hell, what if she shed the whole Catwoman vibe and became this show’s version of Oracle? I doubt she will, but it’s interesting to consider, given the creative choices that Gotham makes.
This episode felt like a race to the finish, with everyone trying to stay on top of Jeremiah’s grand plan, made much larger in scale when he allies with Ra’s al Ghul which, I’ll say now, was one of the more disappointing parts. I’m sure he’s not dead, despite disintegrating into nothingness, but this is the Demon’s Head. I would think that he could put up a more formidable challenge.
And since I’m on the Ra’s al Ghul stuff, let’s get Barbara out of the way. Look, I’m fine with maniac, night club owner Barbara, but this whole world without men that she wants to create is just…weird. Not all of Barbara’s or the city’s problems have stemmed from men specifically, and I don’t understand the motivation here. I would bet that the writers probably don’t, either.
Since we’re talking about Barbara, that’s my easy transition to Tabitha. Her one moment of happiness is ripped from her in a very unexpected moment. I didn’t expect Penguin to bring up Tabitha killing his mother, as the show has moved well past that, but good job on remembering established history. That is one hell of a long term game. Plus, why would Penguin get over it? He wouldn’t.
So the idea of keeping Butch alive long enough so he could be turned back to normal, only for Penguin to kill him right in front of Tabitha, is pretty cunning and in-character for Penguin. I’m just perplexed why he doesn’t just kill Tabitha- who has dodged death many times- right now? He’s already robbed her of Butch. Isn’t that suffering enough? Just be rid of her, because Penguin must know that she’ll come for him.
Side-note, when I’m wrong, I’m wrong, as last time, I stated that I didn’t expect Hugo Strange to appear this season. He would show up at some point, but with so much going on, I figured the show couldn’t find a place to fit him. And I was wrong. More than that, he’s not even used that much. It’s in short bursts, so we get just enough to know why he’s present and what he can do not just for Butch, but Riddler and Leslie.
Hey, another transition. So Leslie still cares for Jim as well, but has no reason to be with him because her obligation is to the Narrows. Fine. If she’s adamant that neither he nor Ed truly gets her, I do wonder why she even indulges Ed, if not just for his mind and resourcefulness. That said, I love that they stabbed each other, kissed, and then collapsed. Only on this show can you get that kind of dark comedy.
Now, onto the main event. Jim standing his ground in the face of both the cataclysm and Major Harlan was one thing. But the entire precinct standing behind him shows how much trust he’s gained with the officers over the past four seasons. Were this the first season, everyone would willingly hand Jim over to Harlan, but he’s earned plenty of goodwill and the officers here aren’t the corrupt ones from Season One.
With the city in darkness and many people fleeing, it’d be easy for him to also flee, but this is his city to defend and, as he tells Bruce, there’s still light in Gotham.
Both Bruce and Jim have similar goals, albeit Bruce’s future is born out of both his destiny and what Ra’s and Jeremiah see in him. Selina has told Bruce before that not everything happening in Gotham is his responsibility. That’s true, but it doesn’t stop Bruce from making them his priority. Since the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne has been molded and changed by the city.
He’s at the point where he can be on his own, without Alfred, and puts his life on the line when he goes around beating up perps for any information on Jeremiah. After all, he must have friends, right? Someone must know where Jeremiah is. And right now, that’s what drives Bruce- righting the wrongs that he feels partially responsible for, even though he couldn’t have predicted what Jeremiah would do.
And now we’ve got a proto Bat-signal to boot. Granted, it’s not being used to summon Bruce yet, but Jim no doubt knows that Bruce will rise to the occasion if help is needed bringing back Gotham.
This was a very good finish for the fourth season of Gotham. And with the knowledge that the fifth season will be the last one, we’re left wondering how Jim, Bruce, and their allies will bring their city back now that mob rule is rampant and the villains are staking out their territory. It’ll take a hell out of a lot to restore Gotham City to what it was, but it’s possible. While not everything worked this season, the good outweighs the bad.
And with the stakes higher than they’ve ever been, we’ll see how Bruce and Jim fix this mess when Gotham returns for its fifth and final season. See you then.